Our mission is “to love and lead all people to a life change through Christ Jesus”. I would say we do that within these church walls, and farther beyond. I have heard many people say Evermore is a mission-minded church. We have a continual flow of people that feel the Lord leading them to serve beyond our small town. We reach out into the community, lending a hand to existing missions. We invite people into our body with open arms.
I remember feeling called into REACH, the excitement for what the Lord had is store was great within me. Fundraising on the other hand, did not stir up those same feelings. I had no doubts that our church would be supportive, but asking for money is always a humbling experience. As a missionary you are required to ask for support whether by making an announcement from the pulpit or distributing newsletters in mailboxes. Typically, we ask for two types of support. These are almost always financially and with prayer. Both are essential to the missionary actually being able to go on mission. I remember asking for those exact things four years ago as I prepared for REACH. At the time that is all you may know or think to ask for. That may be all people know or think to give.
After being on mission for six months, experiencing re-entry back home, and serving on a support team for others within the church...I would say the avenues of supporting a missionary are numerous. As we send people out, they remain a part of Evermore, a part of us. All too often we forget. Months pass and the phrase “out of sight, out of mind” begins to ring true. I’m guilty of this myself. So how do we not forget? How do we go beyond writing a check or asking God to keep them safe? I asked a few of our people who are currently out on the field for suggestions:
- Prayer Reminders/Requests:
It is mentioned above to do more than pray. I, of course, encourage you to continue in prayer, but to let the person know you are praying. Your prayers make a difference, and simply knowing someone is praying is enough. Ask them if they have specific prayer requests. (This gives you a glimpse into what they’re experiencing).
- Engage in Conversation:
Ask them what their highs and lows have been. Ask them what they are learning/what God is teaching them. This not only shows you care and are interested, but it helps them process.
- Reply to Updates:
When they take the time to write an update for supporters or the church, they want to hear back. A simple response goes a long way.
- Send Mail:
A card for their birthday, a holiday or “just because”. A little care package of things you know they miss from home. Depending where they are, mail may not be a great option. Emails or messages are appreciated all the same.
- Continue at Home:
This is as important as supporting them while they are gone. They will still be processing what they’ve experienced, which is usually best done by talking with people. Initiate a conversation that goes beyond asking them how their time away was. Meet them for coffee, invite them over for a meal, make them feel part of our community again. Give them the chance to open up and share.
Continue to write checks to get them to where they feel called, but remember to seek ways to support them well while they’re gone and once they have returned. I can speak from first-hand experience that these things really do make all the difference. They form lasting friendships, and these are the things they will remember for years to come. These ideas don’t take much time or money, simply being intentional.